Dan and Joyce Leonard of Colton have been recognized by AARP Washington for exemplary volunteerism and community service. AARP Washington recognized Dan and Joyce, along with two others, as part of the 2016 AARP Andrus Award for Community Service. The Andrus Award is AARP’s most prestigious and visible state volunteer award for community service to honor individuals and couples for their remarkable volunteer efforts that have greatly benefited their communities, supported AARP’s vision and mission, and inspired other volunteers. In Dan and Joyce’s honor, AARP is donating $500 to a charity of their choice.
Dan and Joyce Leonard were nominated for their work as Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) volunteers for many years. Joyce started in August, 2009 and Dan followed in January, 2011. SHIBA is a free and unbiased service of the Office of the Washington State Insurance commissioner that provides one-on-one assistance to residents in an effort to help unravel the mysteries of Medicare. In November alone, Dan and Joyce drove more than 600 miles visiting libraries in Whitman County to provide SHIBA’s counseling services. They often work at several libraries in a single day. Dan and Joyce developed a systematic plan in an effort to assist as many people as possible during Medicare Open Enrollment periods. They recognized a need in their rural county and decided that it was their duty to act.
“The impact the Leonards have had upon area seniors is immeasurable, “said Kristie Kirkpatrick, director of Whitman County Rural Library District. “From saving participants thousands of dollars to bringing peace of mind for those struggling to understand the confusing process, their efforts have meant the world. You won’t meet nicer, more caring people than Dan and Joyce. I am so pleased they are receiving this well-deserved honor.”
“This award acts as a symbol to the public that we can all work together for positive social change,” says AARP Washington State Director Doug Shadel. “AARP has long valued the spirit of volunteerism and the important contributions volunteers make to their communities, neighbors, and the programs they serve.”
The Award is named after AARP’s Founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus. AARP’s commitment to volunteer service can be traced back to Andrus, whose motto “to serve, not to be served” has shaped the AARP community service efforts at the national, state, and local levels. Each year, AARP honors the legacy of Dr. Andrus with the AARP Washington Andrus Award for Community Service in each state.